Scallops in rye_ the festival that marks the peak of the scallop season _ the independent

The coastal East Sussex town of Rye has a famous history as one of the Roman Cinque Ports, a string of ports that defended the British coastline and offered trading routes inland. Smothered pork chops onion gravy The town sits back from the sea, overlooking the salt marshes stretching down to Rye Harbour beach and Camber Sands, and its tall church spire has long acted as a guide for sailors.

Despite its rich past, the town continues to inaugurate new traditions, and last week a ceremony was held in the town, the crowning of its “Scallop Queen”. Frying pork chops temperature This light-hearted event heralds the start of the Rye Bay Scallop Week, an annual celebration of the plump, tasty, highly prized bivalves which have soared in popularity since Rye held its first scallop festival in 2003. Baked pork chops with rice And it doesn’t discriminate on gender by the way – last year’s Queen was male.

The festival marks the peak of the scallop season – they’ll be at their best for the next few weeks – and thousands of scallops were shucked and sold, from food trucks, market stalls and the many pubs and restaurants which serve Rye’s visitors, such as The Mermaid Inn which dates back to the 12th century.

Our taste for scallops has been increasing over the past decade, with sales up 14.9 per cent to £16.65m in the past year, according to industry body Seafish. How to cook pork chops in skillet The Financial Times named scallops one of its “affordable luxury” ingredients after Christmas 2015 saw consumers, sick of austerity, splash out on supermarket-bought, home-cooked gourmet foods.

You’ve probably seen or eaten the French dish Coquilles St Jacques, in which the scallops are baked in cream under a blanket of breadcrumbs and presented in their pretty, fan-shaped shells. Grilled pork chops cook time As they thrive in all oceans, scallops are eaten across the globe and work just as well quickly fried with ginger and Asian greens. Baked breaded pork chops They also marry particularly nicely with the rich, piggy flavours of bacon and black pudding, and sweet vegetables such as peas and corn.

Since 1993, Rye’s Mermaid Inn has been owned and run by Judith Blincow, who understands the allure of local scallops. Baked pork chops “They are so good because of the way in which they are fished by the local fishing fleets,” she explains. How to cook pork chops in a cast iron skillet “Local by-laws restricting the fishermen to harvesting their scallop catch from 1 November until 30 April are strictly adhered to by Rye’s fleet, who use the small (under 10-metre) boats. How to cook pork chops on skillet The beds are checked regularly and allowed to regenerate when necessary. Skillet pork chops There are also size restrictions on the catch, leaving the smaller scallops in the water for future years.”

The Mermaid Inn is just one of the 27 local businesses that get involved with the scallop celebration, and a scallop menu is served there throughout the week. Saute pork chops On it, you’ll find red wine and port glazed scallops with parsnip, black pudding and pear; pan-seared scallops with quinoa and chive risotto, roasted cauliflower and pickled raisins; and scallop and brown shrimp ballotine with smoked mash and kale.

Blincow has worked at the Mermaid for more than three decades and estimates herself to have served more than 100kg of scallops last week. Quick recipes with pork chops “A growing awareness of the product has encouraged more people every year to try them, and that is why the Rye Bay scallops festival has grown more popular, year on year,” she explains. How to braise pork chops “It reflects the trend for people to taste locally sourced fresh products. How to cook pork chops in a frying pan This also reflects a trend for healthy foods, and scallops are an excellent source of protein, calcium, iron and vitamin B12.”

Not only are they good for you, they’re a really special kind of sea creature. Stuffed pork chops recipe baked We go crazy for oysters, our prized aphrodisiac, but scallops have lagged a little in the popularity stakes. Recipes for pork chops in the oven with mushroom soup As hermaphrodite bivalve molluscs they’re somewhat unusual, but also pretty impressive: they can swim by clapping their shells together and propelling themselves through the oceans, and even have eyes.

Our growing desire for scallops could be measured by the success of the Ethical Shellfish Company, a family-run business on the Isle of Mull, which husband and wife Guy and Juliet Grieve set up in 2010. How to cook perfect pork chops Guy, a former wilderness adventurer, saw how unethical fishing practices were harming marine environments, which prompted him to investigate how he could help to protect the oceans. Grilled pork chops with peaches The company now supports small fishermen, fishes to order, and supplies only hand-dived scallops – around 10,000 a week.

This approach has been welcomed by the many shops and restaurants who sell these scallops, which include Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, the cream of London’s seafood restaurants such as Scotts, Le Caprice, and J Sheekey, The Witchery in Edinburgh and Yorkshire’s Hodgson Fish and Booths, the first British supermarket to stop selling dredged scallops.

“The real appeal with the dived scallops is that it’s just so profoundly honest as a way to bring scallops to the table,” says Guy Grieve. How to get pork chops tender “The dive fisher is the fishing gear, there’s nothing in between, and there’s something very pure about a human hand picking the scallop off the seabed for you.”

John Botterell runs the Rye fish merchant Botterells with his wife and two sons. Pork chops oven cooked They are fishermen, too, bringing in bass, dover sole, turbot, plaice, dabs and gurnards depending on the time of year, but when it’s scallop season all efforts turn to processing them for market.

There are five scallop boats collecting the pretty shells from the seabeds in Rye, and more up and down the coast. How to cook pork chops with crackling They are dredged (a method which has met with controversy following reports of large trawlers in the North Sea damaging seabeds irreparably and using migrants as slave labour aboard Scottish vessels), but on a sustainable scale.

One way to avoid buying these unsustainable “blood scallops” is to only buy the hand-dived ones, as recommended by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall during his Fish Fight campaign. What can i make with pork chops In Rye, however, all the scallop fishing is done from small boats that respect the harvest, dropping smaller scallops back under the waves for future catches.

“They’re at their best right now,” says John Botterell. Pork chops and “They tend to get to their biggest at the end of February and early March. Cook pork chops oven It’s rather like asparagus or strawberries, where you get your four to six weeks of interest. How to cook pork chops in gravy In a way, the scallop week announces the season.

“I like mine best with some smoked haddock, cubed up and cooked with butter and oil. Shake and bake pork chops 1 inch thick The cost is high, but to harvest them the cost is also very high. Crock pot pork chops mushroom soup It’s very hard work on the fishermen and on the boats.”

Kyle Tatner used to cook fine-dining dishes at The Mermaid Inn, but he’s struck out on his own and his food truck is a new draw for scallop-lovers at the festival, and there are queues for his slow-braised pork belly with scallops and a local smoked fish chowder brimming with smoked scallops, haddock and mackerel.

“The Rye Bay scallops are lovely and plump, and we get through anything up to 80kg during the week. Recipe for oven baked pork chops I think it’s all to do with embracing what’s good about our local area. Chops pork We’ve got such great food down here and lots of new producers.”

If you’re buying scallops, these large, meaty examples are known as king scallops and Botterell advises looking for specimens with a good-sized coral, the bright-orange pocket attached to the white flesh. Quick and easy pork chops This is the scallop’s roe and is packed with nutrients and taste, though it is often removed. Barbecue pork chops Smaller queenie scallops are also popular.

Reduce the red wine and the port to a combined 200ml. Baked pork chops with mushroom soup Peel and chop the parsnips. Recipe for stuffed pork chops Season, then pour the honey on to them. Grilled pork chops sauce Roast for at 180C until soft. How to make tasty pork chops When soft, purée and add a knob of butter and a dash of cream.

Dice the black pudding and pan fry on a high heat. Fried pork chops recipe Season the scallops and pan fry them on a high heat, on one side for 1 and a half minutes, then pan fry the other side for the same time, and add a knob of butter.